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Dr Leyton:I was diagnosed three years ago with an eyelid condition called blepharitis, related to seborrheoic rosacea, and would like your help in curing this stubborn condition.

Dr Leyton:I was diagnosed three years ago with an eyelid condition called blepharitis, related to seborrheoic rosacea, and would like your help in curing this stubborn condition.

My eyes itch, burn and tear during waking hours, which seriously undermines the way I look and feel about myself. At times the itch is so bothersome that I can't keep my hands off my eyes, even during the night. There is redness of the lid margins as well as crusting in the morning.

So far my doctor has irrigated my tear ducts and gave me erythromycin ointment to bring the redness down. I was also put on a six-week course of systemic tetracycline which made no difference at all. My doctor told me there is no cure for blepharitis, which I don't understand or accept. She further told me that my symptoms would be significantly improved with local measures such as hot compresses to the lids and daily lid hygiene.
RH

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a red, scaly, itchy rash that develops on the face, scalp, eyes and ears but can also occur on the eyebrows, eyelid edges, the skin near the nose and skin-folds of the armpits and groin. On the scalp it is the most common cause of dandruff. Generally, the treatment of dermatitis must be tailored to each case.

Blepharitis (from the Greek blephar, meaning eyelid) is an inflammation of the eyelids themselves. Although commonly occurring on its own, it can also coexist with rosacea, another inflammatory disorder of the skin.

There appears to be a relationship between the yeast Pityrosporum ovale and seborrhoeic dermatitis. Patients with seborrhoeic dermatitis have a reduced resistance to the yeast due to various factors, including stress, fatigue, change of the seasons and reduced general health. You may have noticed that nervous stress and any physical illnesses tend to make it worse.

The condition can be associated with allergies and it does sound as though you have some allergic symptoms. You should get a thorough allergy investigation from a natural medicine allergist so that you can find out what your allergens are and avoid them or treat them properly. If you haven't already, please eliminate all processed foods, especially sugar and hydrogenated fats from your diet. These types of food will promote inflammation and rob the body of B vitamins and competes with vitamin C for absorption. Stick to predominantly vegetarian fare. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, raw whenever possible. Do not use any kind of cosmetic products on your face.

There are some vitamins and minerals that you should consider taking, including vitamin A (up to 20,000 IU per day), vitamin B-complex (100 mg), vitamin C (1,000 mg) and vitamin E 400 IU daily. Minerals to take include magnesium (100 mg) and zinc (30 mg). All of these vitamins and minerals are essential for the immune system and skin.

Herbal teas, compresses and infusions help reduce inflammation. Using a cotton ball soaked in camomile and eyebright, dab on eyelids to soften crusts caused by blepharitis. Or try in a tea: add one teaspoon of herbs to one cup boiling water, steep for 10 minutes and drink three times daily.

Another remedy is a dilluted calendula tincture (one teaspoon of tincture to three teaspoons of water) and apply to the eye as a compress. For red, scaly eyelids, bathe eyes in a well-strained infusion of agrimony (one teaspoon of the herb to one cup of boiling water). Agrimony has astringent properties.

You can try controlling your condition with a homeopathic remedy called Euphrasia, taken by mouth in a dose of six to 12X or use as a lotion for the eyelids themselves.

Written requests for advice must contain your age, gender, height and weight and a good description of your present problem; any past medical problems and treatments; a list of drugs and supplements you are taking and any recent blood or other test results.

Address letters to the medical advisor, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5J 5B9. Please include a cheque or postal money order for $20 made out to Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd. Expect six to eight weeks for a reply.



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